Tracking & Auditing Placements Checklist: 3 Easy Steps to Ensure Efficiency

By Mandy O'Brien on August 7, 2020

MandyJust a couple of weeks ago, we wrote a blog about 3 simple steps to booking placements in uneasy times.  In that piece, we touched on optimizing opportunities, namely, return on investment (ROI) and the often overlooked earned media value (EMV) which measures the value of unpaid brand impressions on third-party content including blogs, social media posts, product reviews, etc.

This time, we’re going to dive into the 3 important and practical steps that you can perform while your placement is running to ensure you get the most out of it.

1. Maintain a measurement tool or tracker: Hint: Think of this measurement tool as not only a simple tracker for the logistics of a placement i.e., what it is and when it runs, but as a tool that measures what the incremental return on investment (ROI) is. Maintaining a measurement tool allows you to:
    1. Keep tabs on the types of placements (homepage, category, product, newsletter, etc.) that are planned to run on a particular date(s) by the publisher partner.
    2. Keep information organized in such a way that the inputs become standardized for measurement purposes i.e., publisher partner name, placement type, start date, end date, cost, conversions, revenue, etc.
    3. Stay organized while also serving as a multi-purpose tool by way of a calendar, audit and measurement tool.

2. Perform placement audits: Hint: Auditing is critical to make sure all the placement details are ironed out and in order. Perform placement audits by:

    1. Inputting placement dates onto your own calendar to ensure that you remember to review the publisher(s) site for your brand’s placement.
    2. Reviewing placement for correct messaging, promotional details (if any) and adjacency to other brands.
    3. Taking screen shots to report back on actual placement performance, if warranted.
    4. Clicking through links to ensure the placement takes the consumer to the correct destination and there is no friction in the consumer experience. Are visitors getting where they should be from a landing page sense, do images render correctly, is all other information accurate?

      Pro tip: Some publisher partners require log-ins to view their sites, so ensure you have a log-in prior to the day of the placement run. Also, if you’ve purchased newsletter placements, ensure that you are subscribed to the newsletter so you are certain that you will receive it. Finally, some placements are targeted audiences altogether, meaning you might not be in the target audience segment that will receive the placement. In that event, request that publishers include you or take screen shots on your behalf.

3. Collect placement performance data: Hint: Always be sure you’re letting the data be your guide. Be sure you're paying attention to performance data:

    1. Tracking placement performance independent of evergreen placement can be challenging. So, determine if you are aiming to review publisher partner performance overall or if you are trying to zero in solely on the placement performance.
    2. In the event of a publisher performance, you can simply leverage reporting from the Ascend™ Affiliate Cloud platform’s Track module to detail the performance of a publisher during the time the placement ran. Capture revenue, conversions, variable commission and ROI. You can use this to determine if there was a lift in publisher performance during the placement run, over a similar prior period, as well as if there were new customers acquired as a result of this placement. 
    3. In the event of placement performance, you can request specific information from publishers who may have optics into ad performance. For example, for email placements, publishers will generally share open rate and CTR and in some cases they may be able to share the CTR on certain site ads to help you understand the lift in traffic from the resulting placement. Also consider tools like exclusive code which can be used in conjunction with the placement to determine the specific performance from the placement itself. Simply include the exclusive code on the placement advertisement and use reporting in Ascend™ to determine the resulting number of conversions, revenue, etc. from the exclusive code.
    4. Calculate ROI. This will serve as your measurement guide in determining how you optimize placements for the future.

Did you find this information on measuring placement performance helpful? Be sure to stay tuned to hear more in the final installment on booking, tracking and optimizing placements.